The country’s first traveling water circus is making a pit stop in Gainesville this weekend. The circus opened Thursday night at the Oaks Mall.
Cirque Italia is an Italian entertainment company that has toured the United States since 2012. The current show is dubbed “Aquatic Spectacular,” thanks to the one-of-a-kind water stage – which holds up to 35,000 gallons – that the acts perform on and around.
Manuel Rebecchi, the creator of Cirque Italia, grew up in a family of circus performers in his home country of Italy. Together with CEO and producer Chante’ Demoustes they created the circus.
Chris Morrell, the media spokesman of the show, said working under Rebecchi’s creative mind has been a great experience.
“The things that [he’s] able to think of, I’d never even dream of,” Morrell said. “What’s really unique about our show is that we have a 35,000-gallon tank of water and the lid is going to lift up, water is going to cascade down. It’s a Las Vegas style fountain system, it’s one of a kind.”
Unlike some other circuses, Cirque Italia does not use live animals in its performances. Morrell said the show likes to instead focus on what the human body can do.
“We have an amazing international cast. We have a contortionist, we have a mermaid, we actually have three dinosaurs,” Morrell said.
The white and blue tent, which has approximately 1200 seats, takes about two to three days to set-up according to Morell. Some of the staff that sets up the tent are also the performers.
“We are like family in this circus, we all work together and have known each other for many years before. I’m really happy, the people here are very friendly,” said Frank Diaz, a Cirque Italia performer.
Frank, who started performing in Cuba in 1994, has been performing with Cirque Italia for two years, doing hand-balancing acts. Diaz’s son Derick Diaz has been performing with him for a year.
“I feel fantastic working with my dad, it’s been one of my dreams,” Derick said. “I’ve always wanted to work with my dad. My dad was the one who taught me how to do all these tricks.”
Cirque Italia’s performers come from all different kinds of backgrounds and countries. Performances include hand-balancing acts, a contortionist, jugglers, aerialists and clowns.
At the end of each show, all the performers line up wearing sashes representing where they are from. Country flags on the sashes Thursday night included Romania, Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, the United States and Italy.
Cirque Italia has one performance tonight, three performances Saturday and two performances Sunday.
Tickets start at $10 – more information can be found on the show’s website.